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Archive for the ‘Korean’ Category

I used to be at the top of my game, bringing you the latest and greatest in SCV before anyone else…however the reason I haven’t kept you guys up to date is because nothing had opened recently that had inspired me to dust off the old bloggy blog (I had forgotten my password, quite frankly). That was until last week when my bro Hsiawen sent me a text while I was at work. It was simply a photo of a chalk menu board and instantly I was intrigued. I demanded an address, and hoped it was in SCV. As a brother would do, Hsiawen had me in agony as he texted me photos of his food, but still no address. Notice, this is my attempt to give Hsiawen full credit for being FIRST to discover this new place, okay?

By the time my school day ended, Hsiawen had texted me the address, and as soon as the final bell rang I drove to the spot, walked in, and knew I was in for something good. But before I continue, let’s take a walk down memory lane to this post from 2009. Remember Fish Tail? Remember how excited I was about them opening up in town? The only place slanging poke bowls in Awesometown! Best! Anyway, back to the present.

So as I walked in, instantly I saw the familiar faces from Fish Tail (admittedly it has been a while since I’ve been to Fish Tail, but its back on my radar now). Well, the same way they brought a new concept to SCV three years ago, they have done it again with Rustic Eatery. The menu is quite simple, but I quickly learned they were doing things right. For example, they make their own bread every day, rustic and french, and spent weeks perfecting their hand cut fries. This space used to be a Red Brick Pizza, but the only thing that remains is the oven, and they certainly put it to good use for their bread, croutons, and other menu items.

Making bread isn’t an easy task, but Min (one of the owners – along with his brother Alex) was committed to perfecting his bread, and talks about the trial and error of learning how to make the bread actually rise.

This is truly a “mom and pop” – well in this case “brother and brother” type of business, which is my favorite kind to support, especially when you can see true drive and passion behind opening a restaurant in SCV. Bringing something good to the people of Awesometown besides the same ol’ chains and pretentious eateries. There is a feeling of family at this place, and the owners are so humble. It is so refreshing.

So anyway, as is the case when I like a place in SCV…I wont stop talking about it, and (humble brag) its a cool feeling when you can just text your friends and ask if they want to meet up at a new place, and they agree without even asking what kind of food or what its called. I guess being named one of SCV’s 40 Under 40 gives me klout!

Just like I did for Fish Tail in January 2010 I organized a get together at Rustic Eatery really from one day to the next. Last Saturday about 20+ of my closest friends gathered to check this place out. This place is casual and kid friendly too! And the best part is, everyone loved it! Colbert Bump!

I’ve been there a few times now, often with friends, and I’ve tried most of the dishes. I like the rice bowl and the plates, but I think my current favorite is the ribeye prime cut sandwich, salt and pepper, provolone, on rustic bread. It is served with a side salad which is top quality lettuce and it even has grapes. Fancy.

Here is Mrs. SCV herself! Eve Bushman of Wine 101 fame!

I went there for lunch with Jason and he had the tofu, so they do have vegetarian options available.

I’m also a big fan of their fresh cut fries with the aioli they make themselves.

If you like sweet potato fries they have those as well.

Essentially, you pick your protein and then you get to pick how you want it. Even on top of a salad! Notice their croutons they make in house!

Also of note? They have pork belly. Its amazing to me how hard it is to find a place slanging pork belly in Awesometown. Seriously, something that can be found so easily in LA, yet in Valencia, its like trying to find Waldo!

It is hard to describe what kind of food this is. It does have some Asian influence in the sauces that they make in house, and in the rice bowls. Asian influence can also be seen in the shabu cut ribeye and other dishes. I would suggest just going in there and checking it out. You can’t go wrong, really.

So, I’m totally fangirling over this place, and remember my posts on this blog can never be bought and I can’t be bribed – but if I like your place? I really know how to show it. Trust. I think its just because I’m so happy to have something NEW and REFRESHING in Valencia and I’m all for supporting local small businesses, which is why despite my seemingly cold black heart, when I realized this place didn’t have a website yet, I asked if I could try to make one for them for fun (ie no charge – I have a day job), selfishly just to see if I could. So, turns out creating a site isn’t that hard (thanks Wix!), I used photos I was going to use for this blog post anyway (that’s why they may look familiar), and I think this was my good deed for the holiday season. Maybe Santa will be good to me this year.

You can check out their website (and my amateur skills) by visiting their site here: Rustic Eatery. And then, since it was so EASY I decided to make a landing page for my own site using Wix as well. One of these days I’ll revamp this blog. That’s next on my to-do list. For now, check out (shameless plug) Lady Ducayne!

Anyway, back to Rustic Eatery! I have to reiterate what Lisa said at our meetup Saturday. THANK YOU Min and Alex for opening up in SCV and giving us some new options! So, SCV? What are you waiting for?

Hustle on over to this place and check them out. Keep in mind that they are fairly new and still finding their way. At lunch it tends to get busy, but its worth the wait! Its been a while since I’ve been so happy about a new place in town, and its good! Promise! You can thank me later.

Did I mention they have Orangina and Mexican Coke? JACKPOT!

(Parting gifts courtesy of Scott Groller)

Rustic Eatery

25343 Magic Mountain Parkway

Valencia, CA 91355

http://www.rusticeatery.com

Sidenote: If you happen to be visiting Santa Clarita from out of town because of Six Flags Magic Mountain and need a place to eat before heading into the park, or perhaps on your way home? This is a great alternative to the usual fast food places. Its essentially the same exit as the one you take for Six Flags, and super close! Pro Tip!

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As you know by now, I believe in education, or else I wouldn’t have a career in it. I’ve graduated quite a few times in my life: Elementary, Junior High, High School, Associates Degree, Bachelors, and now my Masters. After each ceremony it becomes tradition to go somewhere nice for dinner. My parents let me pick ANY place that I want, regardless of cost. For my BA, we flew to Vegas because I really wanted to eat at Enoteca San Marco (which was brand new at the time).

Today I participated in what I think will probably be my last graduation ceremony as a graduate. Afterwards, I got to choose where we went for dinner. The original plan was to fly to Vegas, have dinner somewhere super fancy, and then on Sunday I would see AFI in concert. I bought my ticket a while ago, and was really looking forward to it. As it got closer to my graduation date, I started to realize that missing work on Monday would not be a good idea. It would totally throw off my kids because they are in the middle of a novel and a project. I guess maybe this means I am a responsible teacher. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I’m extremely sad about missing my favorite band at such a small venue. However, I’m taking one for the team. I’m not a college kid anymore. I’m a teacher, a professional, a graduate, and I have a responsibility to my kids. I’m keeping my ticket instead of selling it. I’ll proudly display it in my classroom and hope that one day I’ll be able to see them at a small venue. I better start talking about KBBQ before I start to cry about missing Davy, Hunter, Smith, and Jade. Live. In concert. At a small venue…singing my favorite songs…:'(

ANYWAY! Today I thought maybe Mozza would be good, but we go there a lot already, so it isn’t special anymore. My mom said maybe we should go to Lazy Ox, but again, we’ve been there. I wanted something new and started trying to remember places on my “I must try this place ASAP” list. Pizzeria Ortica sounded like a great choice, but they didn’t open until 5pm. Then I remembered Cube LA and their cheese, but I was hungry for more than just cheese. I wanted meat, but I didn’t want to go to Lawry’s. Then my beautiful mother suggested Parks BBQ, which I have been hearing really good things about! Korean BBQ is one of my favorite things ever! Then I remembered reading a post about Road to Seoul which was also close by.

Unsure as to which one was the better of the two, I turned to the Twitterverse to ask and thanks to three people in particular I learned that if I wanted something special, Parks was the place to go, particularly because it was my graduation day, and I deserved to indulge. Turns out two of the three people had never even been to Parks at the time, but were going on blind faith based on what they had heard.

After some advice telling me to “high class it” we settled on Parks.

And “high class it” I did! The only problem is, I don’t think I will ever want to go anywhere else! Parks was amazing! I love Korean BBQ with a passion and have eaten it ever since I can remember. I’ve tried many KBBQ restaurants throughout my life. I even went to this really ghetto place Emmanuel once suggested that was like a converted house. I wish I remembered the name, but it was in Northridge.

SK initially suggested we order the seafood pancake. After ordering everything, I checked Twitter only to see that he had made some more suggestions! It turned out that we had already ordered most of what he suggested! Great minds…

I could go on and on and tell you about each banchan dish and the meats and the flavors, but the bottom line is, this place is great. I have eaten at countless KBBQ places throughout the City of Angels and beyond. I can say that at this point in my life, I’m throwing in the towel. Parks BBQ has now become my most favorite place for Korean BBQ. I haven’t been to Road to Seoul, but it would have to be pretty magical to be better than Parks! I still want to try Road’s AYCE Korean BBQ though!

Today we had the Kobe “Style” Beef, Kalbi, Pork Belly (OMGZ) and Seafood Pancake. Along with a gazillion little banchan dishes, and soup, and rice, and lettuce and oranges…Each meat item was of the highest quality! You could just tell by looking at it and it was only confirmed by the taste.

The pork belly was was indescribable! Wow! Probably my most favorite part of the meal!

This was definitely the best place to celebrate my final (probably) graduation. However, I’m not going to wait for a special occasion to go back. I need to put this place on rotation for sure! Unicorns and rainbows? D’uh.

Parks BBQ

955 South Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90006-1647
(213) 380-1717

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I have a pretty good feeling that Seoul Korean BBQ restaurant is the only KBBQ place in Banff. It is somewhat hard to find if you don’t know where to look because it is located within the Sundance Mall, along main street. We ate here last year and it was good so on Christmas Day, when everything else seemed to be closed, we decided to go there for lunch.

This place is owned by a lovely Korean family and seems to be very popular with the Korean tourists. We were the only non-Koreans within the whole restaurant.

I’m sad to say that this meal was not as fantastic as I remembered it being during our last visit the year before. Perhaps we were there on an off day. I would probably go back if I were in Banff and wanted a decently priced meal.

If you are craving some ethnic food while vacationing in Banff, definitely consider Seoul Korean BBQ restaurant.

Seoul Korean BBQ

215 Banff Avenue

Banff, AB T1L Canada

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It seems like all of my friends (and random people on Yelp) love Yaki Kui. I may never understand why. I had been to Yaki Kui during their grand opening week for lunch, and honestly? Was not impressed. It was just bleh, so I never went back…until today.

Since I was going to make my way over to Canyon Country for cupcakes, I decided to have lunch at Yaki Kui because I was curious to see if anything had changed. Sure, it had been years since I’d been there, and everyone raves about it…I’m always up for asian fusion…I was excited to join the Yaki Kui love bandwagon.

I was going to order a lunch special, but was tempted by the thought of all you can eat. Now, this blog may give the wrong impression of me, but I don’t really eat that much…honest. However, I do eat enough to get my money’s worth at AYCE places. Gogi House, I’m talking to you. Anyway, for $17.95 you can choose from salads, appetizers, meat, and seafood. If you pay $2 more then you can order mussels (my most favorite) and salmon. I figured I could do without those items and just get the lunch price.

This proceeded to be one of the most awkward and uncomfortable lunch experiences in Santa Clarita. First of all, the place was dirty. We are talking dirty to the point of stickiness on the table and the floor. FAIL. Everything that we ate was not good, although most was edible. By the way, is this place related to TODAI in any way? You know TODAI, the ultimate asian buffet place? Weird!

So it is all you can eat, but the ordering process (at least today) was awkward. Like they were doubting everything I was ordering and I barely even ordered anything! Gyoza, which I ate. Followed by salad.

And some mixed tempura.

And this was all for 2 people, so I don’t feel that I ordered too much, even though I totally got that vibe from the staff. Everything was sweet, and I love sweet! However, did I mention that EVERYTHING tasted sweet? It was really weird.

This was the kimchi that according to my lunch friend did not taste very fresh at all. It didn’t look very fresh either, and even though I personally don’t eat kimchi, I have seen enough to know what it should probably look like. It smelled weird too.

And these were the vegetables that came with our meat. When it came time to order the meat, we ordered only two varieties. This came out first:

At this point we were really uncomfortable and wanted to leave. Even though we were paying almost $20 for this lunch, we didn’t feel it was worth it, and maybe we should just cut our losses and leave. We just wanted to get out of there but maybe the meat would change everything…

Yeah, it didn’t change much. We eat ate a piece of meat that was really bad and pretty much called it a day, paid, and left. I wont be giving this place a 3rd try…ever. As for the rest of you that love this place, maybe I went on an off day or I ordered wrong, but it was pretty much full of FAIL from start to finish. Yuck! Gogi House will continue to be my AYCE go-to place in town.

Yaki Kui

19158 Soledad Canyon Rd
Canyon Country, CA 91351
(661) 252-1002

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I was in Hollywood and passed by this yellow truck that had no signage. Always the curious type I turned around expecting a traditional taco truck. I was wrong! It was actually a Korean and Latin fusion truck. Yup.

At the time the truck did not have any visible names on it, but I have seen it since then, and now there is a name on it. Fuxion. I’m assuming that “x” is pronounced as if it were a “s” so don’t think the name is supposed to be vulgar or anything. And the names of the items on the menu all have an “x” in them.

The Mexican ladies cooking did not seem to be in the best mood that night. Or maybe it was my SLR that they didn’t like. Or maybe they were tired? The actual owners of the truck are Korean though and they were at the truck as well. Very nice people! Super nice! 

Anyway, I ordered two tacos and I liked the garnishes they were served with it. They were the Xokogi, if I remember correctly. I ate them both. The first thing I noticed is that they were loaded with meat. I like this.

I don’t know if I would go out of my way for Fuxion, but if I found them nearby at 1 in the morning and I was hungry, would I stop? Sure. I just hope I catch the ladies cooking in a better mood!

 

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